Welcome to The Flick Chicks
- Category: Jacqueline Monahan
- Published on 21 July 2011
- Written by Jacqueline Monahan
Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for Lasvegasroundtheclock.com
The Las Vegas Film Festival: Where Shorts Stand Tall
It’s baaaack! The panels, the features, the shorts, the documentaries – and yes, even a star or two. For the second year in a row, the Las Vegas Film Festival (LVFF) was held at the Hilton, with screenings in both the Hilton Theater and the intimate Shimmer cabaret.
Now in its fourth year, the LVFF has been steadily gaining momentum on the festival circuit and is especially important to Las Vegas since the demise of CineVegas.
Your humble correspondent was on hand to screen close to thirty short films (student and independent) that were shown during two cinema-packed days which also included interviews, feature-length and documentary offerings, and professional panels geared to filmmakers, screenwriters and producers.
UNLV and CSN were represented in short film blocks of student work that had time spans as short as 2 minutes and as long as 20. UNLV subject matter covered both functional and dysfunctional relationships, abortion, suicide, murder, strip club intrigue, bulimia, and zombies.
Columbia focuses on the February 1, 2003 space shuttle tragedy, while Confessions turns the consequences of picking up a hitchhiker into a bloody aftermath. Salesman involves a door-to door attempt to sell cocaine, and Distorted Perfection probes the psyche of a girl with body dysmorphic disorder.
CSN student films also covered murder, adding self-mutilation, the business of running a t-shirt company, the importance of water, and the delightful life-affirming Accidental Adventure, a POV romp about how a chance encounter can change your life.
Also engaging was a two-minute makeup lesson entitled Transformation that will have anyone looking like Lady Gaga in no time. Marco and Bianca follows two newlyweds right up until their deaths – which occurs within one hour of their quickie Vegas wedding. Acro-Love features a man who just can’t stand his left arm.
Two separate independent film blocks yielded eight more screenings that explored suicide, organ donation, teen drunk driving, and the ever popular topic of murder. The lighter side of grizzly was provided by Dog Eat Dog, the story of two hitmen trying to take a small dog “out” because he irritates the big boss. Amanda is heavy with teen drinking and accidental (one intentional) death. Poison Inc. tells the story of a struggling writer who is given a pen that allows him to alter reality just by writing about it.
Amanda explores the aftermath of drunk driving
Light deals with forgiveness and loss; Seasons follows a couple through the stages of their lives together, not always happy, but always in love. Inside Looking Out involves a doctor’s epiphany after his wife’s murder. Subject matter tends to run on the deep side here, but it is counterbalanced by narrative skill, sensitivity and sometimes, dark humor.
Inside Looking Out
Screening lots of shorts in one place does tend to make the viewer’s attention span quicken as well. When there’s only two to five minutes from start to finish, the pivotal scene has only seconds to build. The entire story is distilled and compressed so that every word, gesture and glance has a magnified significance.
The lone feature I was able to screen was Seth Swirsky’s surprising, fascinating Beatles Stories, which delivered exactly what it promised. It was made up entirely of snippets of stories from people who’d met (or in Jon Voigt’s case, almost met) a Beatle or four.
In a sense, it was a collection of micro-shorts – a variety of mostly famous people like Ben Kingsley, Art Garfunkel, Susannah Hoffs, Frank Gifford, and Graham Nash, to name a few. Each told of their encounter with various members of the iconic group, usually in giddy, astonished voices accompanied by delighted, wide-eyed facial expressions.
For the fourth year in a row, the Las Vegas Film Festival has provided an outlet for independent filmmakers in all genres. Film shorts are just one facet of the cinematic gem that the festival provides and are destined to remain a backbone within its program and a launch pad for their creators.
Good things, it seems, come not only in small packages, but also short ones.
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